In the US, electricity consumption per household averages to 903 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month or 10,837 per year. We’ve been able to reduce our household usage this year to 235kWh a month or 2829 kWh for the year. This is a reduction from 2009 where our average usage was 377kWh or 4525 kWh for the year.
2013-2014 energy usage
(blue line is ours, gray are the high usage households, green are similar energy efficient folks)
2008-2009 energy usage
What Did We Do?
Our appliances are newer and up to date, a small size top mount refrigerator*, efficient dishwasher*, gas range (Blue Star), gas dryer*, and front loading washer* — (*Kenmore brand). Our appliances are all on the smaller end of the spectrum, so nothing huge.
Our electronics are efficient as well with the DirecTV box likely to be the biggest energy drain. Our LCD-LED backlit tv also seems to use much less energy than our previous LCD tv. Our laptop usage versus desktop usage also seems to help.
Our lightbulbs throughout the house are all LED from Philips, Cree, or another make. We made a huge dent going from 60 to 100watt light bulbs to 3 to 13watt bulbs.
We did a home energy audit which resulted in our attic insulation and in sealing gaps where heat or cold air would go. Our air conditioner and heater barely go on, mostly due to the temperate weather in Oakland but also because of the insulation resulting in a tighter seal for the house. We do have a Nest thermostat but the insulation helped out much more.
There’s not much left to do except for maybe a few outdoor floodlights to switch out. We can hope for a more efficient DirecTV DVR. We could also try and run the dryer and dishwasher less, maybe dry clothes outside. Would love more ideas but under 250kWh isn’t bad. 200kWh would be fantastic but may require more work.
What’s not next is solar panels. At $20k or $13k with rebates, a solar panel installation is hard to justify financially. At a reasonable breakeven of 7 years, solar panel installation would need to cost $3,000. We could go to $5,000 as a luxury but the $13k to $20k is way too hard to justify given our low usage.